The Dangers Of Carbon Monoxide

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Dangers Of Carbon Monoxide

What, Precisely, Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is not as thick as air. It is, typically, tasteless, colorless and without the smell. Its qualities mean that it tends to be very toxic with excessive exposure.

CO is formed when oxygen and carbon combine. As soon as the burning of carbon is finished, i.e.If air is present, it results in carbon dioxide or CO2 Although if the combustion process fails to finish resulting in reduced oxygen supply, just half of the oxygen combines together with the carbon, which in turn creates CO.

The accumulation of carbon monoxide in the home normally is related to the total number of people inside the home, and the levels of gas are generally highest in parts of the house with most footfall.

When appliances are in proper working order, hardly any CO is made but devices that do not work properly or lack the necessary air flow might create greater levels of carbon monoxide, potentially even to hazardous levels.

It’s worth bearing in mind too that using charcoal grills, kerosene heating units in the house, or having your vehicle running in an attached sealed garage.

Devices where carbon monoxide is likely to be found;

  • Charcoal grills
  • Wood burning stoves
  • Room heaters
  • Water heaters
  • Fireplaces
  • Cooking Ranges
  • Portable generators
  • Furnaces
  • Cars running in closed garages

Having a carbon monoxide device in the home should always be deemed a CO risk, even when in good condition. Exposure to the gas is particularly dangerous to unborn babies, younger children, anemics and anyone with heart problems. Lesser levels of CO could cause tiredness and chest pains for anyone with heart problems.

You won’t always feel the effects of CO right away. You could begin to feel as if you might be coming down with Flu yet with no temperature, it may also take on symptoms connected with various other illnesses – gastric Flu or even stomach pains.

Things to keep an eye out for;

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Breathing Irregularly
  • Headache
  • Tiredness

So what are the safe quantities of Deadly carbon monoxide?

Percentage of AirParts Per MillionEffects
0.4%250-350Normal concentration in outdoor air
0.1%350-1000Concentration generally found indoors, in well-ventilated areas
0.2%1000-2000Drowsiness and poor quality air
0.5%2000-5000Stale, stuffy air, resulting in headaches, tiredness, lack of concentration, increased heart rate and, in some cases, nausea
4.0%40000Severe oxygen deprivation resulting in brain damage, coma and, ultimately, death.

Just How Do I Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Make sure that you have every single one of your household gas appliances inspected on a regular basis. Getting them checked consistently helps avoids leaks and, as a result, the release of CO.

Property owners need to ensure that your home appliances have been checked, as well as maintained annually by a registered technician.

It’s the duty of a landlord to have gas home appliances in your properties maintained annually by a registered professional.


It is very important to have combustible home appliances fitted properly. Every new appliance ought to include guidelines re set up, that you must follow exactly

*Be sure to check and adhere to local building codes*

Venting home appliances should be vented correctly in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

It’s advisable that with any combustible product to have a registered technician install it for you.

Appliance maintenance

  • For houses with room heating units as well as central heating, it is best to hire a certified specialist to complete routine service assessments every year. A registered professional can evaluate the components of your devices, both electrical as well as mechanical, e.g. automated safety devices and also controls your thermostat
  • Chimneys/flues need to be free of blockages, safe from corrosion, or loose connections.
  • Your home appliances have to be serviced at regular intervals
    Room heating units, vented or not have to be checked to make sure they’re in perfect working order

Using your appliances

  • Make sure you keep to the manufacturer’s’ guidelines for safe installation.
  • Be sure a room containing unvented kerosene or even gas heater is kept properly ventilated. If there are doors leading into another, have them open, this will give that little bit extra ventilation.
  • Avoid the use of unvented flammable heat throughout the night and in bedrooms
  • Avoid using charcoal grills in the house, tent, campervan, as well as closed garages
  • Don’t leave the engine of a vehicle running inside a sealed garage, not even during the colder months when you really want to warm your vehicle in advance.

Inspecting your appliances

In addition to professional servicing on devices that could possibly generate CO, you as the homeowner need to carry out routine home inspections for signs of possible issues. The checklist below will give you an idea of what you’re looking for and, if found, bring in the experts;

  • Water streak or rust found on air vents as well as chimneys.
  • Loosened sections or missing sections of furnaces.
  • Keep an eye out for soot on surfaces inside the house including the loft.
    Chimney as well as vent connections that have become loose or even disconnected.
  • Soot as well as debris coming from the chimney, the fireside and also every appliance.
  • Brickwork coming loose on the chimney

You’ll also come across indicators that a product is being used incorrectly, for instance;

  • If the availability of warm water should suddenly drop off.
  • A central heater which cannot heat up your entire house, or is continuously running.
  • Unusual and also smell of burning.
  • A build-up of moisture or condensation around the windows.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Wherever possible, you’ll always be best trying to make sure your property never develops the build-up of CO but, it never hurts to have a backup such as a CO alarm. Each operates by sensing dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide in the house and activating the alert.

How they work.

The noise is triggered when the detector picks up increased amounts of CO inside the property. There are many brands available and all have options and functions unique to them. Several create sound at persistent, lower levels of CO and with others, the sensor is triggered only at life-threatening levels.

In accordance with Underwriters’ Laboratory (UL), Listed CO detectors made after October 1995 have to have their information on the product packaging, clearly stating the level of sensitivity of the detector. Read all the product packaging of the CO detector you’ve bought, and make sure you understand what its alarm signal indicates.

Where do I install my alarm?

Carbon monoxide distributes quickly and evenly all through the house so, ideally, you’d put your alarms in the bedroom areas of the house and in the living area.

Do not put your alarm anywhere near chemicals in the home, it may damage the detector or might inadvertently set it off. A ceiling or wall is a good starting point but make sure you read the instructions

If wiring your system directly into the property’s power supply, you must test it each month. For battery-operated models test them even more regularly and install new batteries yearly.

Lauren Author

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